Ed Leigh, presenter of Ski Sunday – on BBC2 from early January
When you're looking for a more intimate resort it's always worth considering the proximity of super resorts should the snow fail. It is for this reason that I love Sainte Foy (pronounced "Fwa", darlings) in the Haute Tarantaise. In the valley below Val d'Isère and Les Arcs, Ste Foy is the runt of the litter when it comes to size, boasting a very modest four lifts. But the vast off-piste, half-price lift passes and option of heli-skiing (across the border in Italy) all put Ste Foy on the powder pilgrim's to-do list.
Lift passes from Val d'Isère, Tignes and Les Arcs all give you a free day in Ste Foy, so check it out first from that perspective. If you're all about piste-blasting, you'll get bored very quickly, but if you're after powder you'll be in heaven. My favourite run is from the summit of the Foglietta back down to Ste Foy village on the road from Bourg-St-Maurice to Val d'Isère. It will take you the best part of three hours to do a lap, and it's stunning.
The best accommodation options are the auberges. Le Monal (le-monal.com, from £61 a night half board, minimum three nights) is at the bottom of one of the most scenic off-piste routes out of the resort heading back to Val d'Isère, so if Carlsberg did ski-in ski-out, this would be it …
• Jet2 (jet2.com) flies to Chambery (an hour and a half from Sainte Foy) from Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh and Newcastle from £64 return
Chemmy Alcott, Britain's number one female alpine ski racer (tinyurl.com/chemmya)
Valle Nevado is just a mountain. No lavish hotels no big gondolas – just fantastic terrain and no one in sight. You never wait in lift lines! It's like having your own private mountain. The only problem is that you have to venture to Chile in our summer, as it is in the southern hemisphere – but it is so worth it. If you ski very early in the morning, you can hot-foot it down the mountain to a nearby beach for some sunset surfing. Paradise!
• Five nights half board at Hotel Puerta del Sol (tinyurl.com/chilepuerta) costs from £700pp. Valle Nevado is about an hour and 40 minutes' drive from Santiago airport. British Airways (ba.com) flies to Santiago from £830
Graham Bell, former Olympic skier and presenter of Ski Sunday
Gressoney is at the end of a quiet, unspoilt valley in the Aosta region of north-west Italy, linked with Champoluc and Alagna, and in the middle of the Monterosa ski region. The three resorts combined allow you to ski some big distances on the piste, but it is the access to the off-piste that makes Gressoney special for me. It also offers the best heli-skiing in the Alps, with drops at over 4,000m. One option is to ski down into Zermatt in Switzerland on the other side of the Monterosa, then return off-piste through Cervinia.
If you enjoy the stops as much as the skiing, this area of the Alps is famous for its mountain cuisine. The Rifugio Guglielmina at 2,800m has the most amazing views and is a great place for lunch. For somewhere to stay, the Hotel Dufour (hoteldufour.it, from £370 for seven nights' half board) in town is a very reasonable family-run hotel, or further up by the lifts in Staffal there is the newly renovated Chalet du Lys (chaletdulys.it, doubles from £75, room only).
• Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies from Stansted to Turin, 100km south of Gressoney, from £69 return
Felice Hardy, ski writer, and co-editor of the ski information website welove2ski.com
Val d'Anniviers is actually six resorts within about 15 minutes' drive of each other. My favourites are Grimentz, which has some awesome off-piste, and quiet St-Luc, home to one of the loveliest little hotels in the Alps. Hotel Bella Tola (bellatola.ch, B&B doubles from £200) doesn't come cheap, but you could always just treat yourself to a hot chocolate on the terrace after skiing. What all six villages have in common is their natural beauty, lack of commercialism, creaky sun-blackened chalets and tiny chapels.
• Easyjet (easyjet.com) flies to Geneva from 12 British airports from £84 return
Jenny Jones, British pro boarder
Two years ago I went to an amazing cat-boarding/cat-skiing resort in British Columbia called Retallack (retallack.com, five-day full board packages from $4,220), in the middle of nowhere. We stayed in a large, lovely eco-friendly lodge with about 23 other guests and between you there's 10,000 acres of powder riding. There was so much untouched powder and really great pitches. They were not too flat – no having to shove your board along – and not too crazy steep, just great fun. After each run you get to the bottom and then jump into the cat machine and they drive you all the way back to the top. They provide lunch and drink on the hill. In the evenings back at the lodge they serve wonderful healthy, hearty food.
• There is no public transport to Retallack. Fly to Calgary from Gatwick with Air Transat (airtransat.ca) from £496, and you can book a private minibus for the eight-hour drive to Retallack with Gravity Adventures (gravityadventures.ca)
Ed Blomfield, editor of Whitelines snowboarding magazine (whitelines.com)
With the cost of living spiralling out of control, it's good to know there remains a place where a pint comes in at under a pound. In the forested slopes of the Low Tatras, Jasna is a buzzing Slovakian resort that has benefited from massive investment over the past few years. Squeeze in between wealthy Russian tourists on the new eight-seat gondola, cruise down almost 40km of picturesque pistes or drop off into the powder in one of the official "freeride zones": the area offers terrain for every ability, while cold pilsner and pierogi (dumplings) make for an après treat that's light on the wallet.
• Seven nights half board at Jasna's Hotel Grand (grandjasna.sk) costs from £408pp. The nearest airport to Jasna is Krakow, Poland, three hours' drive away. Ryanair (ryanair.com) flies to Krakow from five UK airports from £46 return
Sam Haddad, editor of Cooler magazine (cooler.mpora.com)
It's on the south shore of Lake Tahoe and gets heaps of snow and sun, with awesome views, but it's not too crowded, more of a locals' mountain. It has five parks (including two for beginners and improvers), a super pipe, boardercross course, some nice steep double black diamonds (as they call black runs over there) and the off-piste – Huckleberry Canyon is a total dream on a powder day, with tree runs aplenty. The Baja Grill at West Bowl does fresh fish tacos, which you can enjoy while basking in a lounge chair.
• 968 Park Hotel (968parkhotel.com) in South Lake Tahoe has room only doubles from $843 for seven nights. Flights to San Francisco, a three-hour drive from Lake Tahoe, with British Airways (ba.com) costs from £447 return
Zoë Gillings, British professional snowboarder (zoegillings.com)
I really like Châtel, a small town five minutes from the Swiss border. Although the resort isn't too big it is connected to the Portes du Soleil ski area, a group of linked resorts spanning the French–Swiss border. I like it because you can stay in a small town with a relaxed atmosphere but still have access to enough runs that you could ski/ride all day and never do the same run twice. There's everything from nursery slopes to snow parks to half-pipes to death-defying mogul runs and plenty of awesome tree runs in between.
My favourite restaurant is the Chesery (tunnelchatel.com), where they serve the best ribs in the world. Happy hour at the Lion D'Or (hotel-lion-dor.nl) is always good if you are looking for some après-ski too.
• Châtel's Fleur de Neige (hotel-fleurdeneige.fr) has B&B doubles from £101. Châtel is about an hour and a half from Geneva airport. Easyjet (easyjet.com) flies to Geneva, as above
Jojo Cook of SoulSports agency
Engelberg is the first large peak the low pressures hit on the way from the North Sea, making it steep, snow-sure, and with a long season that typically lasts from mid-October until April. You won't find any big-name dance DJs, but you will find plenty of Swedes and Swiss who flock here for the challenging off-piste. Engelberg is home to the world's first revolving gondola – the Rotair – which takes skiers all the way to the top of the 3,000m Titlis. There's a conveniently placed bar here, where you can have an aperitif before taking on two of the infamously long off-piste runs – the Laub (1,100m) or the Galtiberg (2,000m). Stay at Ski Lodge Engelberg (skilodgeengelberg.com, B&B doubles from £176), a low-key boutique hotel with a gourmet restaurant and an outdoor hot-tub.
• Engelberg is two hours by train from Zurich airport. Easyjet (easyjet.com) flies to Zurich from Manchester, Luton and Gatwick from £52 return
James Webb, snowboarder and 2008 British Slopestyle Champion
Le Grand-Bornand lies between Mont Blanc, Lake Annecy and Switzerland, and only the French locals know about it. I love this place as the locals have carefully worked to create excellent skiing while keeping the village's tranquil appeal, and they are always up for hearing ideas on how the park should be run. There is a cafe at the top of the park, Les Terres Rouges, which is a great place to stop for lunch. In the evenings the Green Monkey is popular with locals and visiting Brits. The run from the cafe at the top through the park to the town is always fun. As for off-piste, there are plenty of great runs through the trees under the chairlifts.
• See James at Relentless Freeze Festival, 28-29 October at London's Battersea Power Station, relentlessfreeze.com. In Le Grand-Bornand, Les Fermes de Pierre et Anna (fermes-pierre-anna.com) has B&B doubles from £97. Le Grand-Bornand is about an hour's drive from Geneva airport. Easyjet (easyjet.com) flies to Geneva, as before
Caroline Stuart-Taylor, chief executive of the Ski Club of Great Britain
La Grave offers some of the most challenging and exciting skiing to be found in the Alps. Its north-facing 2,000m mountain isn't pisted so whatever the snow conditions are like when you're there, that's what you'll ski on the way down. It's perfect for freeriders, but avalanches are not blasted like they are in mainstream resorts – you need to know your mountain safety, and/or ski with a mountain guide. The small Refuge Chancel (refuge-chancel.com) on the mountain is simple but the food is delicious and what's cooked that day is what you eat.
Even taking the hike over to Les Deux Alpes gets you some wonderful unskied areas, and also offers a bit of relaxation on the pistes after some hard skiing at La Grave. La Grave is a small village with a few bars and hotels, so it's not the place for clubbing, but things do happen here!
• L'Edelweiss (hotel-edelweiss.com) at La Grave has half board doubles from £120. La Grave is about two and a half hours from Lyon. Easyjet (easyjet.com) flies to Lyon from £58 return
Nicola Iseard, editor of Fall-Line Skiing and Snowboarding magazine (fall-line.co.uk)
If you hear the name and it draws a blank, you're probably among the many skiers who drive straight pass the exit signs en route to other resorts in the Tarentaise Valley, such as Tignes or Ste Foy. You're missing a trick. La Rosière not only has smaller crowds and cheaper accommodation and lift passes than its neighbours, but also some rather good skiing, too. Sharing the San Bernardo ski area with La Thuile, La Rosière offers two massive snow bowls to ski – one in France, one in Italy – and, brilliantly, two micro-climates. When it's snowing in La Rosière, you can pretty much count on it being sunny in La Thuile, and vice versa. Perfect, no? OK, so the pistes are generally on the tamer side (best suited to intermediates), but there's still some challenging spots for those who like things steep and deep; some of the steepest lines can be found through the woods above La Thuile. When the snow's good it's as good as tree skiing gets.
For a mid-mountain pitstop in the sun, Le Plan du Repos (+33 4 7906 8792) has a big terrace with great views. For good-value Savoyard nosh (and generous portions), try Le Génépi (+33 4 7907 5209), in the centre of the village.
• Résidence Les Cimes Blanches (cgh-residences.com) at La Rosière has self-catering apartments for four people from £730 for seven nights. Jet2 (jet2.com) flies to Chambery, two hours from La Rosière, as above
Xavier de le Rue, French snowboarder
To me the ultimate resort is the one you go to when you want to seek mountain adventure you wouldn't get at normal resorts, where you get the most amazing drops and terrain. In these off-the-beaten-track places you can ride the same slopes for ever, then come back a few years later and rediscover it all over again, with bits you've never even seen before. The Pyrenees and Le Beaufortain in the Alps have some brilliant spots. However, for powder lovers I would recommend aiming for less famous resorts such as Zinal, at the end of the Val d'Anniviers in Switzerland.